Chester Boughton Hall suffered a blow in their quest for a second successive Premier Division championship as they were beaten at fellow title-chasers Alderley Edge on Saturday.
Going into the game in second place on the back of a strong start to the season, tasting defeat only against league leaders Hyde, Hall were elected to bat first but failed to find their batting rhythm.
Influential captain Lee Dixon was once again the high-scorer for Hall, knocking 24, with Warren Goodwin’s 20 and Mark Rowland’s 17 being the next best for the visitors who were dismissed for the disappointing total of 113ao.
With a modest target to chase, Alderley Edge struggled to get their batting offensive firing and were struggling until Adam Worrall, at six in the order, stepped up to knock 54no and help steer the home side to 114-6 from 32.3 overs to claim an important victory.
Hall captain Dixon said: “It was a very wet wicket and I felt that whoever batted first would have the advantage.
“There were a few poor decisions in my opinion but the problem was once again with our batting, which has been brittle all year if I’m honest.
“But I’m confident that the batting will turn for us and that we can get firing again. We’re up there and only one win behind the leaders, which considering that we have not really got going this year isn’t too bad.
“Other teams are now playing their best cricket and we’re still yet to find ours, so when that happens then we should be OK.”
Hall’s Lancashire star Jordan Clark was the standout for the visiting bowlers, taking 3-42, while Aussie import Josh Henderson took 2-40.
The weekend was not all doom and gloom for the Filkins Lane side however, as they booked their place in the third round of the Cheshire Cup on Sunday with a three-wicket home triumph over Elworth.
The visitors won the toss and elected to take to the crease first but found Bob Evans (3-16), Ross Dixon (3-40) and Warren Goodwin (2-16) in solid form as they were skittled for 130ao from their 43.1 overs.
Knocks of 28 from Mark Rowlands and 26 from Guy Dunbavand, added to by 16no from Evans, helped see Hall to a comfortable 131-7 triumph.
Hall are likely to face Zimbabwean batsmen Charles Coventry this weekend after he agreed to join Saturday’s opponents Nantwich this week.
Coventry, 31, played in two Tests and 37 ODIs for his country and previously shared the record for the highest individual score in a ODI – 194no – until it was surpassed by Sachin Tendulkar.
Dixon added: “It’ll be great for our players to test themselves against someone of the quality of Charles Coventry and I’m sure he’ll do well for them, but hopefully after Saturday.”
Neston also tasted defat as they were beaten by 50 runs at Nantwich. After being set a target of 168ao, Neston toiled and were dismissed for 118 to hand their hosts the triumph.
In Division One, Matt Astbury’s 33 from his spell at the crease couldn’t stop Christleton from falling to a heavy 146-run loss at home to Didsbury.
Christleton won the toss and elected to bowl but found the visiting batsmen to be in unforgiving form as they blasted their way to 221ao from their 50 overs, despite Iroshan De Silva taking 5-51.
Christleton had new overseas import Uzair Walt ers making his debut but he was bowled for a duck as the home side struggled to make inroads, eventually falling to defeat after being dismissed for just 75ao.
Oulton Park suffered a 16-run loss at Timperley as they fell just short of the 208ao total set by their hosts.
Guy Emmett’s 6-88 was the standout performance from the Park bowlers while, at the crease, Louis Bentley made an impressive knock of 51 but it was to prove in vain as Park were dismissed for 192ao, handing Timperley the win.
Tattenhall’s stop-start beginning to their Division Two campaign continued as they drew at Warrington.
Winning the toss and electing their hosts to bat, Tattenhall made an early breakthrough, Alan Brock dismissing Richard Heaney for three via a fine slip catch from Owen Williamson.
Warrington then rebuilt, with Liam Heaphy notching 49 as they made 193-6 from their 50 overs.
Tattenhall's reply started badly as the openers abandoned caution early on. But John Gibbon (34no) and Dan Power (30) set about the rebuild before the latter was dismissed from a Kyle Adams catch but the visitors did enough late on to claim the draw.
Stephen Charles made a stunning knock of 75no to see his Alvanley side to a convincing win at home to Congleton.
After dismissing the visitors for 113ao thanks toi four wicket hauls from John Suckley (4-46) and James Ecclestone (4-14) Alvanley secured the triumph with 115-1 from 24.5 overs.